On 6th June 2010 we held our first Sunday services in the building at Market Street. We had had the keys for the building since February and had worked tirelessly – every Saturday and many evenings during the week as well as all day during school holidays – on renovating and decorating the building. It truly was a labour of love as we all worked on making the run-down building fit for worship. At the end of the evening service, we took a photo of all who had been present.
Today, 6th June 2020, things look very different in some ways. We have not been able to meet together in the building since 19th March because of the situation with the coronavirus pandemic, although Garry and Julie have been livestreaming services from the building since 22nd March. We are very much hoping we will be able to physically meet together soon (perhaps from July, depending on the Government’s guidelines) and in preparation for that, we have decided to have the room decorated for the first time since 2010. Today has been spent emptying the room of all the chairs and furnishings. (We have since taken down the cross and moved other things too!)
The advantage of the current situation is that with no one using the building, we could transfer all these items to the community room (which is also not being used!)
Hopefully by the end of next week, we can show you photos of a newly decorated worship room and foyer!
In some ways, this has got us thinking about lots of things… There’s no doubt that a church building is hugely useful, and it’s deeply frustrating to us that we can’t use the building to its full potential at the moment. We miss not being able to hold services, prayer meetings and Bible studies, our Parent & Toddler group and youth club and are sad that other groups such as Slimming World, Dearne Stay Fit and TADS can’t use the building either for their groups. We are very much a community church, and we miss the physical contact we have through our presence on Market Street. But at the same time, we are very aware that the church is far more than a building… and the church is very much alive still, even if we have had to learn to meet in different ways over the past eleven Sundays. We are still meeting on Sundays at 10.30 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. and on Thursdays at 7.00 p.m. We are still holding prayer meetings and Bible studies. We are staying in touch with our parents and toddlers through Facebook Live on Fridays and have continued to work with other local churches, supporting the Salvation Army food bank and running virtual Family Fun Days at Easter and Pentecost. We are still in touch with each other through snail mail, telephone calls, texts, WhatsApp and Facebook. We have posted out craft packs and Easter eggs at Easter to local families and have posted out craft packs at Pentecost as well. We’re doing our best to stay in touch and to reflect God’s heart for our community. We are still seeking, ten years on, to be ‘with God in the community, with God for the community’ and we continue to believe that God has good plans and purposes for this area, this community, this church and this building!